I’m not sure we’ve ever been more excited to turn the page on a calendar year. So long, 2020! However, one thing our team loved looking back on was the content that you, our community, found most helpful, encouraging, and hopeful. With that in mind, we made a short list of those top-rated articles from 2020 and our favorite podcasts and videos from our not-so-favorite year. Yes, let’s say goodbye to 2020, but let’s carry the hard-earned lessens we gained with us into this bright, new future. Cheers to all the strong women who grew even stronger this past year!
Here is what our readers and listeners loved most in 2020:
How Do I Know What Defines Me?
Do you wonder what makes you unique or base your identity off what you do (or don’t do)? You are in the vast majority and this article speaks directly to those inner questions about what makes you, you.
I am single. I am widowed. I am married. I am divorced. I am a mom. I have no children. I am a career woman. I stay at home. I am an artist. I am a cancer survivor. I Read more
If Your Man Didn’t Propose (But Should Have) Read This
Christmas and New Years came and went, and again—no ring. Will it come on Valentine’s Day, or is he going to keep dragging his feet? Have you wondered this or something like it? You need to read Dr. Zoe’s advice.
You tried not to get your hopes up, but deep down you feel like it is time. Read more
From Widow To Wife, Julie’s Getting Married – 145
This one gets personal. Co-host Julie Bender has shared some of her story—a difficult childhood, married at 21, widowed at 33, and living as a single, working mom to her spunky little boy. In this episode, she’s preparing to become Mrs. Julie Bender, marrying the newly found love of her life during a pandemic in front of their closest family and friends. Julie shares this heartfelt part of her story, how she met “D,” and when she knew he was “the one.” Darlene explores the pitfalls she faced while dating and how they’ve grown as a couple as they become not just husband and wife, but also a family of three. Whether you’ve experienced divorce or widowhood, you’ll find nuggets of truth in this episode—a testimony of how our very own Julie Bender found redemptive love. It just might be there for you, too.
Ignite Your Confidence by Doing
Do you struggle with confidence as a woman walking through this #gritandgracelife? You are not alone! A writer at Grit and Grace Life, Rachel Hagstrom, shares her tips on growing your self-confidence.
Married to the Badge: Not Your Typical Life
There are some life roads that we may not understand unless we’ve walked it ourselves. This article provides the much-needed encouragement for the wives whose wedding vows asked for so much more, as well as insights for all of us.
Growing up, I could never have imagined that I would one day be married to a walking badge in polyester black. No, the silly games I played pointed to my future husband as a banker or a doctor, someone Read more
If Your Daughter Is Boy-Crazy, You Need to Read This
Do you have a daughter who’s a little boy-crazy? It’s pretty normal. Are you wondering how to handle it? Look no further; this article is packed with great advice from a seasoned mom who’s been there, handled that!
My daughters entered life as different creatures when it came to the opposite sex. One whom the attention of boys meant a lot, the other, well, it did not. I can’t say what created the difference, perhaps just their Read more
The Complicated Heart – Loving When It Hurts With Sarah Mae – 149
Sometimes the people who are supposed to love us the most hurt us the deepest. Wounds from dysfunctional relationships left untreated can cripple us for a lifetime. Sarah Mae, author of The Complicated Heart: Loving Even When It Hurts, joins Darlene Brock and Julie Bender to talk about healing. Having learned how to break the chains of hurt, she shares the complicated relationship she had with her mom, her pain after an abortion, and steps to finding lasting hope and change. In Sarah’s words: “If you’ve struggled with a difficult relationship, if you’ve felt torn-up and crazy and confused because of it, if you just want to know how to move forward and be okay, this story is for you.”
Can Faith bring Hope to Everything… Even Anxiety?
Is there a danger of only addressing anxiety through the lens of faith? Is there also a danger of not considering a struggle with anxiety through the lens of faith? This video helps navigate how to work through anxiety with a multi-faceted approach.
TobyMac’s Son’s Cause of Death Reminds Us That Faith Doesn’t Protect Us From Pain
TobyMac is loved for his music, faith, and constant inspiration. There’s no doubt this year has been a devastating one for his family, but this article helps those who suffer remember that their faith will sustain them even when it feels like it’s not protecting them.
I just read an article that made the cause of TobyMac’s son’s death public. Since his passing I have found myself torn, wondering, “Should the public know or not?” Toby’s career has made his Read more
You, Your Man, and His Baby Mama All Need Grit and Grace
Got some baby mama drama? Welcome to the club! Dr. Zoe wrote this compassionate and straightforward article to help you navigate that difficult relationship. Don’t miss this one!
Baby mama drama began with the start Read more
How to Get Over the Pandemic That’s Not Over – 139
2020 did not go as hoped. We anticipated “clear vision” and big revelations…not fear, isolation, and a complete disruption of life as we know it. Even though we have to stay stuck in this rut a little longer, there is a way to let this modern-day plague propel us forward. If we look to the bright side, the quarantine did give us all a forced fresh-start. Perhaps through deepened relationships or finally having time to recognize what parts of life were draining. You’ve come to realize the importance of what you miss the most, as well as recognize those things that this season freed you from. It’s time to reset, deciding how to fill our lives and schedules going forward. We can even say “no” to what wasn’t serving our family or us well. But to do that, resist the temptation to feel guilty for not going back to everything you did before.
How to Practice Self-Love
What does it mean to love yourself? Is it important? Why? Julie Bender shares her heart and challenges you to figure out how to love yourself well in this helpful video.
How to Use The 5 Love Languages for Strong Friendships
It’s no secret that strong women need strong friendships! This is a great, practical read on how to show your friends how much they mean to you.
How to Become the Woman You Want to Be
How would you describe yourself? How would you like to be described? If there’s a gap between those descriptions (hint, we all have gaps!), then this article is for you. Written by a licensed psychologist, you will find practical ways to become the woman you want to be.
As a clinical psychologist, I see lots of people who are struggling in this world because they have no sense of identity. They read tons of social media (or magazines if they are older), watch TV, listen to friends Read more
Behind the Music With Colton and Annie Dixon – 137
In this episode, American Idol’s Colton Dixon and his wife, Annie, join Darlene and Julie for a casual chat about how much of his new music was inspired by life, their experiences as a couple, and the challenges they have faced. You will hear about how they met, how they rely on each other during changes in his career, and the most terrifying—being pregnant with twins during a pandemic. You’ll fall in love with this couple just like we did, so listen now!
How to Protect Your Family From Human Trafficking, With Christy’s Cause
Christy Ivie, the founder of Christy’s Cause, joins Julie Bender to provide practical, nitty-gritty tips for families to help protect their children from sex trafficking. She offers age-appropriate advice, what signs of vulnerability to look for in kids, and how to protect them from compromising situations. It’s up to us to advocate for the children in our community, and this video will help us feel more confident in doing so.
When “in Sickness and in Health” Really Matters
Are you a caregiver to your spouse? Maybe they are sick or hurt, maybe it’s temporary or chronic—no matter the situation, this article is brimming with helpful, hopeful tips and encouragement to help you press on.
Remember those beautiful vows we make before God, our spouse, and our family on our wedding day?
“I take you to be my husband/wife, to have and to hold from this day forward, for
6 Ways to Focus on Self-Growth as a Woman
Growth looks different for every woman because we’re all in completely different stages and places in our lives, but in this article you will find 6 ways to focus on self-growth that transcend ages and stages.
I personally get so caught up in all that I have to do that sometimes I miss out on opportunities to grow. At times it’s because I completely blow past them in my effort to complete my to-do list and Read more
Now Is the Time for a Reset – 152
There’s probably no better time for a reset than now! Closing the curtain on 2020 seems like the best idea we’ve heard. But, a grit and grace woman knows that no matter how challenging her circumstances are, she finds strength by going through them, not around them. So, this year deserves a proper send-off. And since it was such a tough one, we’re probably all due for a massive shakeup. Darlene Brock and Julie Bender offer suggestions on exactly how to do that. Do you feel stuck? Is there a relationship that is off? Are you in the right job? What a perfect time to consider what you might want to change and evaluate how you’re spending your time, energy, and influence. If you’ve felt stalled out (as most of us have), take a hard look at your priorities to figure out where you want to go.
Is My Marriage Worth Fighting For?
Has this been a hard season on your marriage? Maybe you’ve experienced job loss or significant stress. Maybe the foundation of your marriage is in question. Are these normal struggles? Can we overcome them? Should we even try? Darlene Brock and Julie Bender, co-hosts of This #GritandGraceLife podcast, bring their different experiences in marriage to the table to discuss this topic, suggest helpful resources, and offer advice. Don’t miss this one!
Of course, leaving 2020 behind doesn’t mean we’ll be granted a problem-free road this year. The trying situations will still crop up—we’ll still receive sudden (read: poorly timed) maintenance alerts on our cars and sheepish last-minute requests from our children to buy art supplies for a project due the next morning. We may even find ourselves dealing with a serious family matter. But with all the bad comes a sweet helping of precious moments to remind us why we’re here. Regardless of what 2021 brings to the table, these articles, podcasts, and videos are equipped with the hope and life lessons from real women to help you press forward in your own journey.